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Imran moves SC for judicial probe into May 9 incidents

By Our Correspondent
May 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday requested the Supreme Court to declare, what he called, the imposition of undeclared martial law in provinces of Punjab, Balochistan, KP and Islamabad as unconstitutional, unlawful and without any effect and all actions taken in pursuant thereof void.

Imran Khan, through his Continued from page 12

lawyer Hamid Khan, filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution making the Federation through the defence, interior and Cabinet Division secretaries, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PMLN Quaid Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi and others as respondents.

He submitted that the arrests, investigation and trial of civilians in peace time under the Army Act 1952, read with the Official Secret Act 1923, is unconstitutional and void and of no legal effect and amounts to negation of the Constitution, rule of law and independence of judiciary.

He prayed the apex court to appoint a Judicial Commission comprising Supreme Court judges for probing into the horrendous and terrible incidents of May 9-10 and actions leading to that unfortunate incidents, which caused loss of precious human lives of dozens of persons and damage to the state and private property, including Jinnah House and other civilian installations, and fix responsibility and recommend action against persons involved.

He further prayed the apex court to declare that the arrests and detentions of the PTI members, supporters and workers under the Maintenance of Public Order and their successive detention orders without disclosure of the grounds of detention are unconstitutional and void and they are liable to be set free.

“That dismantling of the PTI through forcible quitting of party membership and office are unconstitutional and void being against Article 17 of the Constitution,” Imran further prayed to the apex court.

He submitted that the current political propaganda campaign of labeling his political party as a “terrorist organisation”, is also another tactic of respondents to deny the holding of elections and eventually oust him and his political party from the electoral process.

“There is a clear contradiction between holding his political party responsible for carrying out terrorist acts against state military installations (which the armed forces have to protect in any case) and the stance of the respondents in invoking Article 245 to allow armed forces to act in aid of civil power for the whole province,” he contended.

Imran further submitted that the invocation of Article 245 of the Constitution in such an arbitrary manner is also violative of Section 131 Criminal Procedure Code 1898 and Section 4 and 5 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, which provides that the armed forces shall use the necessary force to prevent any prescribed offence.

“The crackdown launched against his political party by means of using excessive force against them under the garb of Article 245 is arbitrary, disproportionate and unreasonable,” the PTI chairman contended.

He further submitted that the trial of civilians through military court is a clear violation of the constitutional guarantees of due process and fair trial, adding that such trials are highly deprecated intentionally, and widely considered as falling short of providing a fair trial.

“Quite interestingly, the respondents had been claiming before the apex court in the matter of holding elections that the armed forces and personnel of law enforcement agencies could not be deployed due to the security situation in the country; however, suddenly in response to the protests enough armed forces personnel were found available in order to control the situation indefinitely in three territories in Pakistan,” Imran submitted.

He questioned as to whether the use of armed forces in order to target a political party is a threat to the system of parliamentary democracy, which is a salient feature of the Constitution and whether the use of armed forces to single out a political party and launch a crackdown against it is clearly violative of Article 4 of the Constitution. “Whether the requisition of armed forces by the federal government, despite of repeated claims that the armed forces and personnel of law enforcement agencies could not be deployed due to security situation in the country, would be mala fide and excess of jurisdiction,” he further questioned.